A generation of Turkey’s military students, who were sentenced to life in prison over plotting a controversial coup, may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel after years of a desperate quest for justice.

An archive picture shows a group of Air Force trainees in police custody after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

On Monday, Turkey’s Supreme Court overturned life sentences given to 37 soldiers for their role in the invasion of state-run Turkish Radio and Television building during the July 15 coup attempt in 2016.

The decision came as a sigh of relief and a renewed hope for hundreds of other military students, trainees, and privates who believe that they were disproportionately punished and wrongfully prosecuted for high-profile crimes such as coup-plotting, while some senior generals got lenient sentences.

The court reversed the lower court’s verdict on the charge of “attempting to topple the constitutional order” by soldiers in the trial. …

When diplomacy is reduced to tit-for-tat barbs in a press meeting, the mutual will to resolve intractable issues between two neighbors becomes increasingly elusive.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (L) speaks during a press conference along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Thursday (Photo: Ahval)

As Turkey and Greece took a recourse back to the channel of diplomacy this year by renewing long-stalled talks over the disputed zones in the Aegean Sea amid ensuing tension in the Mediterranean recently, both sides seem to be fighting against a windmill. The lingering discord could not be revealed more clearly when foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece publicly sparred in front of cameras in a mishandled press conference in Ankara on Thursday.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was in Ankara for talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to explore ways to mend tense ties between the two…

Pandemic and Politics

After months of incompetent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s government faces a brutal reckoning: 62,797 cases in a single day.

Passengers try to keep social distancing at a subway in Turkey. (Photo Credit: EPA)

After months of fumbling approach against a no-nonsense enemy, Turkey’s record of nearly 63,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day reveals the true scope of a national disaster long in the making.

On Wednesday, the public, skeptical about the government’s official statistics for a long time, was rattled to know the depth of the health crisis across the nation, while access to mass vaccination remains an ongoing matter of political controversy. The lumbering efforts for a nationwide vaccination and the government’s botched handling of the entire pandemic were precursors to Wednesday’s wrenching numbers. …

The worshipping of Scrum, a prevalent management framework in major companies around the world, obscures an emerging risk: turning Scrum into another Waterfall.

A picture from a modern workplace.

The delay of products and the waste of labor are among the major grievances of both managers and customers. To this end, it may be safe to assert that the history of organizing human endeavor in the workplace is marked by a ceaseless quest to find the perfect organizational scheme to get the best from workers, both blue and white colors, and to get it on time. This inquiry on the side of management escalated and became all the more urgent especially after the revolutionary impact of modernism in all aspects of human life. The much-cherished dawn of human enlightenment…

Turkish Military and Politics

Former admirals’ public criticism of the government over a new canal project in Istanbul would be a new gift to the Turkish leader whose popularity suffers during the pandemic.

President Erdogan and the Turkish military leadership during a ceremony at Ataturk’s Mausoleum.

At least 103 retired admirals penned down a statement (or memorandum in the military lexicon) to criticize the Turkish government’s intent to build a new canal in Istanbul that would call into question the Montreux Treaty that regulates international shipping through Turkey’s straits that links the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea via the Sea of Marmara. For a country rich with military takeovers of the civilian rule in the past, the admirals’ public demonstration of their displeasure about the state of affairs in Turkey in general, and the canal project in particular, has understandably stirred public controversy.

The statement…

Turkey’s season of mysterious disappearances is back after a purged public worker went missing in Ankara.

An archive photo shows former legal advisor Huseyin Galip Kucukozyigit shakes hands with former President Abdullah Gul in the early 2010s.

On Feb. 17, Huseyin Galip Kucukozyigit, a high-profile former public official who previously worked as a legal advisor in the now-defunct Public Ministry, turned 48. This past Wednesday was his birthday. But there was little motivation for a celebration among his family members. It has been more than 50 days since he mysteriously disappeared without leaving a trace behind, plunging his family into a desperate search for his whereabouts amid renewed fears about his wellbeing.

On Dec. 29, Kucukozyigit left his office in the Maltepe district of Ankara on a cold December day. Purged by an emergency decree during the…

Human Rights And Politics

A Turkish court’s approval of a prison sentence against a lawmaker reveals the depth of anxiety in the government regarding human rights activism.

Turkish police tries to stop lawmaker Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu in Ankara in this archive photo.

Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu.

A physician. A former academic. A citizen. A father. A lawmaker and a human rights activist. One of the most iconic figures of the post-2016 era is now facing what hundreds of thousands already went through: imprisonment.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld a prison sentence against the lawmaker, paving the way for the deprivation of his seat in Parliament in the latest setback for human rights efforts in Turkey.

“It has been determined that the suspect has shared a link to a news article that included a statement by the PKK armed terrorist organisation, and in…

‘Boğazımı kesen bıçağı yalamam’ diyen Ahmet Turan Alkan’ın çok değil iki sene sonra bıçağı tutan eli öpüp af dilenmesini nasıl anlamak gerek?

Yazarlar Ahmet Altan (soldaki) ve Ahmet Alkan.

15 Temmuz rejiminin bir deprem gibi bütün toplumsal mahalleleri, kamu vicdanını ve entellektüel ahlakı yerle bir etmesi akabinde kollektif bellekte iz bırakan birkaç direniş öyküsü, mahkemede yaşanan destansı bir savunma ve hattı karşı iddianame, bir jenerasyona mal olacak jenerik bir ifadeye imza atan edebiyatçı bir yazarın mahkeme salonundaki sözleri var. Ta ki düne kadar.

“Boğazımı kesen bıçağı yalamam,” demişti Ahmet Turan Alkan, hem bir yazar hem de edebiyat profesörü.

Turan Alkan’ın hikayesi Sivasla başlar. Beyaz Türk Engin Ardıç’ın adeta Ankara’ya bir ‘Yaban’ gibi gelen Cumhuriyet aydınını andırır bir şekilde Sivası züppece aşağılamasına içerleyen Alkan, biraz Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’dan mülhem bir…

The picking of a loyalist as caretaker to lead Turkey’s most prestigious university reveals Erdogan’s longstanding push to totally subdue the academic landscape.

Anti-riot police use tear gas to disperse protesting students in front of Istanbul Bogazici University on Monday. (Photo Credit: AP)

The appointment of Melih Bulu by the president as the new rector of Istanbul-based Bogazici University, Turkey’s most elite college, and the subsequent mayhem that followed on Monday has once again revealed that the war on academia is far from over. The battle between students and the anti-riot police in Istanbul, when seen from the prism of the country’s recent political context, had indeed a prologue. …

Candidates (new prosecutors and judges who are on the shortlist) wait in excitement for their new appointment posts in this archive photo from 2016.

The secular obsession with the hijab as an anathema to the constitutional principle of laicism rekindles an arcane debate around identity politics and culture wars in Turkey.

When I go before a judge wearing a headscarf while I’m on trial, I doubt that she would protect my rights and do justice to me. (Fikri Saglar, former CHP lawmaker)

A former lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said those words at a televised debate program on Halk TV last week. His remarks rekindled an old but “recently settled” matter of the dress code in the public service. …

Abdullah Ayasun

New York-based writer. Politics, culture, literary criticism, art, and technology. American political affairs, Turkey, MidEast, and beyond. Twitter: @abyasun

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